(the post title is an ode to a short lived FOX sitcom, two points if you can guess which one)

Keith Law says that after watching him at the Futures Game, Jesus Montero reminds him of Frank Thomas because of the way he hits off his front foot.

Triple-A Scranton is off until tomorrow. The All Star Game is on ESPN2 right, but if you can’t watch you can follow along via Gameday and chat about it here.

Double-A Trenton is off until tomorrow for the All Star Break. Jorge Vazquez has a shoulder injury and was unable to participate in this afternoon’s Homerun Derby, which was won by New Jersey high schooler Mike Fassl. No, really. A high school kid won the Double-A Eastern League Homerun Derby. As for the actual game, the Southern All Stars beat their Northern counterparts 5-3.
Eduardo Nunez: 2 for 3, 1 RBI – started at short & batted second
Reegie Corona: 1 for 2 – took over at short in the top of the 6th
Jorge Vazquez: 0 for 3 – started at DH & batted fifth
Jesus Montero: 2 for 2, 1 PB – took over behind the plate in the top of the sixth
Zach McAllister: 1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 0 K, 1-2 GB/FB – 11 of 16 pitches were strikes (68.8%) … started the game for the Northern Division
Josh Schmidt: 1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 1 K, 1-0 GB/FB – 10 of 17 pitches were strikes (58.8%) … pitched the fourth
Mike Dunn: 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 0 K, 1-2 GB/FB - 10 of 21 pitches were strikes (47.6%) … pitched the sixth

Read More→

Categories : Down on the Farm
Comments (125)

Safe at Home LogoBack in early April we announced our plans for The 2009 RAB Pledge Drive, which we’re using to raise money for Joe Torre’s Safe At Home Foundation. The basic idea is that readers pledge a certain amount of money for every run the Yanks score this year, then at the end of the season we would collect all the pledges and donate every cent to Safe At Home. We ran a similar pledge drive last year, raising $1,050 for The Jorge Posada Foundation.

To date, we’ve had 24 kind readers agree to pledge, good for $1.72 per run scored. Even though they didn’t have Alex Rodriguez for the first month of the season, the Yanks have scored 495 runs, the most in baseball. That means we’ve already raised $851.40 for Safe At Home through 88 games. We’re currently on pace to raise over $1,500 over the course of the season.

If you haven’t pledged yet but want to do so, just shoot me an email at mike (at) riveraveblues (dot) com, and make sure you put Pledge Drive or something to that affect in the subject line. Most people are pledging five cents per run, but you’re more than welcome to pledge more or less. Every penny helps. Regardless of your feelings towards Joe Torre, I think we can all agree that domestic violence is something no child should have to endure. This is a chance for you to do something and help some poor unfortunate kid out there. Thanks to everyone who’s already pledged, and thanks in advance to anyone who plans to pledge in the future.

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On a much lighter note, feel free to use this as your open thread since we have no Yankees baseball. Feel free to chat about whatever you like here, just be nice.

Categories : Open Thread
Comments (139)
  • Baseball America’s Top 20 Rookies

    After releasing their Midseason Top 25 Prospects List last week, the crew at Baseball America posted their midseason list of the Top 20 Rookies today. Ricky Romero of the Blue Jays tops the list, while Brett Gardner checks in at number nine. The Yankees part-time centerfielder has put up strong numbers with spectacular defense this year, but his Rookie of the Year chase is being held back by not playing every day. Gardy did claim one of the three outfield spots on their All Rookie Team.

    No love for Al Aceves, apparently. Don’t get all bent out of shape though, it’s not often a swingman gets any kind of recognition.
    · (43) ·

At 51-37, with the third best record in baseball, leading the Wild Card and just three games back in the AL East, the Yankees had a fine first half. Yet it was a tumultuous three months, wrought with streaks and injuries and strange trends, causing mass panic at times among Yankees fans. Over the extended All-Star Break, we’ll go over each position to see what went right, what went wrong, and how things look for the second half. We already looked at the starting pitchers, relievers, corner infielders, catchers, and middle infielders, so now it’s time to take a look at the outfielders and designated hitter.

The expectations

Coming into the season with no fewer than five outfielders on their projected Opening Day roster, the Yanks figured to sport a solid but relatively unspectacular outfield in 2009. Johnny Damon, Nick Swisher and Xavier Nady figured to man the corner outfield spots and work in some kind of harmonious rotation where everyone stayed rested and productive. Centerfield was going to be occupied by Melky Cabrera or Brett Gardner, whichever one happened to be hitting at the moment. Hideki Matsui was expected to contribute nothing beyond DH duty, which was fine.

After posting a .765 OPS as a unit in 2008 (20th best in baseball), the team figured to see an improvement in its outfield production this year given their depth. Damon was expected to produce at a similar pace to his first three years in pinstripes, while everyone assumed that a rebound for Nick Swisher and slight step back from Nady would combine to produce at the very least average production. Gardbrera was a bit of a crapshoot, and in most circles it was believed the team would probably need to go out and get someone at some point. Matsui just had to be Matsui, or close to it.

The results

Aside from a season-ending elbow injury to Nady just eight games into the season, everything has gone better than expected. Swisher has rebounded from his down year in Chicago while Cabredner has been better than anyone could have expected. Johnny Damon is enjoying the best season of his long career, just in time for his contract year. As a unit, the Yanks rank third in AL with an .815 OPS, trailing two of their AL East counterparts. You get one guess who those two teams are. Hideki Matsui has stayed relatively healthy and is having his best season since 2005.

It’s hard not to be pleased with the production the Yankees have gotten out of the outfield and DH this year. Aside from Nady everyone’s been able to stay on the field, and there’s more bodies than spots so there should be enough opportunity to keep the seemingly ageless Damon fresh.

Johnny Damon

Amazingly, Damon is having the best season of his career at age 35. However, it looks like the New Yankee Stadium has contributed greatly to his resurgence, as his home OPS is more than 200 points greater than his road OPS. He’s taken to the two-spot in the order like he’s been hitting there his entire career, which I think is what most of us figured would happen.

Unfortunately it’s not all good news for Johnny, because his defense in left field has been downright dreadful in 2009. Whether you trust newfangled defensive metrics or just judge defense with your eyes, it’s easy to see the Damon went from an above-average left fielder to one that’s shaky at best. In the team’s final two wins of the first half up in Minnesota, Joe Girardi replaced Damon with Melky Cabrera in the late innings for defense. More than likely we’ll see that continue in the second half.

Melky Cabrera & Brett Gardner

After winning the centerfield job outright in Spring Training, it took only 15 games or so for Melky Cabrera to reclaim the job. In what looks like an annual occurrence, Melky started the year on fire (.326-.394-.517 through May 13th) but trailed off afterward (.261-.320-.395 since). Gardner did pretty much the opposite, starting slow (.214-.273-.257 through May 12th) before picking up the pace (.322-.398-.492 since). The two have combined for a .293-.361-.439 batting line, fourth best among centerfielders in the AL and behind only the Orioles in the AL East.

Gardner has been a hero on defense, putting up an ungodly 20.1 UZR/150, trailing only Colby Rasmus and Franklin Gutierrez. Melky’s been solid, but as usual he tends to get overrated because of his arm. As a whole, the Gardbrera tandem has given the Yanks everything they could have wanted and more.

Nick Swisher & Xavier Nady

We weren’t sure how Girardi was going to get both Swisher and Nady regular at-bats this year, but that problem took care of itself barely a week into the season. Swisher has handled the everyday job with aplomb, doing his usual schtick of getting on base (.360 OBP) and hitting for power (.464 SLG). While he’s prone to the occasional botched play, overall he’s been slightly above average in right field with a 1.8 UZR/150. While it would be nice to have Nady healthy for the depth, Swisher has held down the fort just fine.

Hideki Matsui

It’ll be easy to talk about Matsui’s first half since all he’s done is hit, and hit he has. His .264-.367-.517 batting line is his best in years, and while the common perception might be that the New Stadium is artificially beefing up his numbers, Godzilla’s road OPS is more than 60 points higher than his home effort. While his knees look ready to explode whenever he has to run, Matsui’s a hitting savant that produces in all situations against any kind of pitcher regardless of what arm they throw with.

Expectations for the second half

Brian Cashman added some insurance in Eric Hinske not long before the break, which helps mitigate what would have been a disaster should another outfielder go down with injury. It’s tough to expect Damon to continue his career year, but a regression to his previous performance would be acceptable. The real question is whether or not Melky and Gardner can keep it up in center, because the Yanks have less than three weeks to decide if they need an upgrade.

I guess the expectation for the second half is what it was coming into the season, rock solid production but far from spectacular. Anything else is gravy.

Categories : Offense
Comments (84)

When all is said and done, I would be pretty surprised if Roy Halladay ended up in the Bronx. The Blue Jays are not too keen on trading Halladay within the AL East, and Halladay’s recent ineffectiveness aside, the Yanks would have to give up a king’s ransom to land one of the game’s premiere pitchers.

When I last examined the questions concerning the Halladay trade, I looked at the Yankee Untouchables and concluded that just three players belonged on that list. Joba Chamberlain and Phil Hughes have already shown why scouts have long regarded them as a potential 1-2 combination in the Bronx, and Jesus Montero, at 19, has hit anything and everything thrown his way. Beyond them, I would be willing to move any Yankee prospect — and a few of the younger members of the Big League club — in the right deal.

Now, fans always tend to overvalue their own team’s prospects. The advent of the Internet has allowed us to track kids’ progress on a day-to-day level not really available to us a few years ago. We know what Montero does every time he’s at the plate, and we can see the results take shape in the form of gaudy season numbers. Still, a very valid school of thought believes that teams should trade the unknown for the known nearly all the time, and that contingent of analysts is alive and well in the Yankee Universe.

Our first example of this attitude comes to us via Peter Abraham. In a purely hypothetical post, Abraham opines on his belief that the Yankees could win now but need Halladay to do so. To get him, he recommends parting with Joba — for bad reasons — and Jesus — for good ones. “The unexplained loss of velocity is a concern. So is the stubborn unwillingness to listen to others. There is a chance he could be great. But as each day passes, there seems to be more of a chance that he won’t be,” he writes of Joba.

As each day passes, the chance that Joba will be great doesn’t lessen or decrease. He’s still in just his third full season of professional baseball, and he’s still feeling his way. As much as I have been frustrated with Joba’s results and process this year, we can’t write him off because of a bad half season. The Yankees have done that in the past, and it doesn’t ever end well.

Abraham’s argument concerning Montero closely echoes Mike Ashmore’s passionate piece urging the Yanks to trade Jesus. Ashmore, who watches Montero on a day-by-day basis, understands that Jesus is not likely to wind up a Major League catcher. Ashmore notes the Yanks’ depth at catching, and as Abraham summarizes, “There has to be pain in this trade and this is it.”

While Ashmore and Abraham focus on Halladay, the identity of the player targeted by the Yanks is nearly besides the point. To improve the team, the Yankees will have to give up something. As much as we joke about, they can’t really land anything for Ian Kennedy and Melky Cabrera. Last year, they gave up the unknown and mostly highly regarded Jose Tabata in a deal for two impact players. This year, who knows who it will be?

They can and will try to throw gobs of money at Aroldis Chapman, but he’s just another unknown not ready for prime time. The big fish come with a price tag now, and we’ll find out over the next 16 days just how much the Yanks are willing to pay.

Categories : Musings
Comments (265)

At 51-37, with the third best record in baseball, leading the Wild Card and just three games back in the AL East, the Yankees had a fine first half. Yet it was a tumultuous three months, wrought with streaks and injuries and strange trends, causing mass panic at times among Yankees fans. Over the extended All-Star Break, we’ll go over each position to see what went right, what went wrong, and how things look for the second half. We already looked at the starting pitchers, relievers, corner infielders, and catchers, so now it’s time to take a look at the middle infielders.

The expectations

For one half of the double play tandem, the expectations were simple. Derek Jeter just had to be Derek Jeter. No, not Derek Jeter 1999, or even Derek Jeter 2006. Rather, we expected a solid Jeter season: around a .300/.390/.430 line. It’s the other side that had us scratching our heads.

Robinson Cano is a strange case. He was always known as a talented kid, but put up pedestrian numbers in the minors. Things started to look good in 2005, which was good timing because the Yankees were suffering through Tony Womack at second. He came up and was okay, but had stellar seasons in 2006 and 2007. Then came 2008, in which he started out slow and somewhat recovered. This made it tough to pin expectations on him, but I think most people expected him to at least hit .300 this season.

The results

The Yanks have been solid up the middle. They haven’t been great, though Jeter has been having a mighty fine season. The defense seems to be there, as both Cano and Jeter continue to play solidly to, in Cano’s case, occasionally phenomenally in the field.

Look around the league, though. Very few shortstop-second base combos both have OPSs over .800. Scutaro and Hill, Cano and Jeter, and that’s it. Even in Philadelphia Jimmy Rollins is slacking (though Chase Utley is destroying enough for both of them). We might expect a little more of Robbie, but that doesn’t mean the Yanks aren’t getting excellent production from their up-the-middle guys.

Derek Jeter

Jeter, believe it or not, has been better than expected. His .321/.396/.461 line has been a revelation in the leadoff spot. The new Stadium has added a bit to his slugging line, but he’s still hitting for average and taking his walks when needed. In fact, his walk rate is way, way up this year. Not only that, but his defense has been markedly better. Yes, we can see it with our own eyes, but UZR agrees, giving Jeter a 0.5 rating to this point. Good showing, Derek.

Robinson Cano

Cano, on the other hand, has had his ups and downs. His .308/.341/.490 line looks good, but it’s been wrought with streaks. From April 6 through May 1 he hit .378/.410/.592, which is just incredible. He couldn’t sustain it, though. From May 2 through June 1 he hit .248/.274/.434. So while there was some power, there wasn’t much average or walking. Cano was looking more like 2008 Cano.

He’s recovered a bit since, hitting .308/.346/.466 since June 2. That’s the kind of line you’d like to see him put up for the whole year. It includes 11 doubles, four homers, four walks, and 12 strikeouts.

The big complaint on Cano is his lack of hitting with runners in scoring position. He’s at a horrid .211/.248/.321 with at least a runner on second — though he’s at .308/.379/.654 with just a runner on second. Basically, he goes from a .947 OPS with the bases empty to a .705 OPS with runners on. That’s not going to cut it, Robbie.

It seems the key to Cano is throwing him a first pitch strike. He’s hitting .235/.249/.249 when the opposing pitcher throws him a first-pitch strike, as opposed to .329/.400/.541 when he avoids swinging at the first pitch out of the zone.

He can be better in the second half, for sure.

Categories : Offense
Comments (48)

Francisco CervelliWhen Frankie Cervelli was sent down to Triple-A Scranton following Jose Molina’s return from injury, Joe quipped that he was one of the most beloved sub-.300 OBP Yankees in recent memory, which is certainly true. That little remark led to a conversation in the comments about the best seasons by a player with a sub-.300 OBP, and thus the idea for this post was born.

Since there’s no baseball to talk about for a few days, I figured now was as good a time as any to have some fun and with a post like this. Now, you have to understand that “best offensive season” is a relative term, because any season with a sub-.300 OBP is pretty terrible. To determine which seasons were the best, I used wRC, or weighted Runs Created. You can learn more about it here, but it’s basically a measure of the amount of runs a player creates based on weighted on-base percentage, or wOBA. If you don’t know what that is, then read this. It’s basically a fancier version of OPS that properly weighs all the things a hitter can do to produce value using linear weights. It’s kind of complicated, but it’s a very useful stat.

To narrow the search a bit, I limited it to players with a .300 or worse on-base percentage in a season from 2000-2008, minimum 400 plate appearances. Remarkably, there have been 148 instances by 109 different players in the last nine years when someone made outs 70% of the time or more in a  season. Thankfully, none of them are Yankees the only Yankee on the list is old buddy Scott Brosius. As you’d probably expect, most of the players are all glove/no hit guys like Rey Ordonez, Cesar Izturis and Pokey Reese, but there’s a few All Stars (Michael Young, Freddy Sanchez, Aramis Ramirez), some future Hall of Famers (Pudge Rodriguez, Craig Biggio), and even one current Hall of Famer (Cal Ripken Jr.) mixed in.

I’m not going to go through every player, I’ll just highlight the five guys who had the “best” offensive seasons with a sub-.300 OBP. If you want to see the full list sorted by wRC, click here.

Player: Corey Hart, Brewers, 2008
Stats: .268-.300-.459, 45 2B, 20 HR, 91 RBI, 23 SB, 78.4 wRC

After a breakout season in 2007 in which he hit .295-.353-.539 with 24 homers and 23 stolen bases, Hart’s plate discipline went south the next year as he walked nine fewer times in 91 more plate appearances. Hart’s problems were exacerbated by a brutal late season slump, when he hit just .194-.216-.302 from mid-August on. Despite all that, the Brewers’ rightfielder finished second in the NL with 45 doubles and was voted into the All Star Game on the Final Vote. Hart’s overall production has gone down every season since his breakout.

Player: Chris Young, Diamondbacks, 2007
Stats: .237-.295-.467, 29 2B, 32 HR, 68 RBI, 27 SB, 77.0 wRC

A year after being acquired in the Javier Vazquez trade, Young started his rookie season in 2007 as the Diamondbacks Opening Day centerfielder. His 32 homers were a testament to his freakish raw ability, but the .295 OBP and 141 strikeouts in 624 plate appearances (one every 4.42 PA) showed their was still some development left to be done. Young finished a distant fourth in the Rookie of the Year voting, but his hacktastic approach continues to hold him back.

Player: Jose Reyes, Mets, 2005
Stats: .273-.300-.386, 24 2B, 7 HR, 58 RBI, 60 SB, 76.9 wRC

It seems like he’s been around forever (at least to me), but 2005 was Reyes’ first full and healthy season in the majors after leg injuries hampered him the previous two years. The speedy leadoff hitter amassed gaudy triple and stolen base totals, but his 27 walks are like, a third of what you’d like to see out of the guy setting the table for you. Luckily for the Mets, the then 22-yr old Reyes has improved his eye at the plate and is a bonafide star. Except in September.

Player: Khalil Greene, Padres, 2007
Stats: .254-.291-.468, 44 2B, 27 HR, 97 RBI, 76.3 wRC

Unlike the other players in this post, Greene was pretty much an established big leaguer when he had his sub-.300 OBP season. 27-yrs old and in his fourth full season, Greene actually had his best power season by far in ’07, but it came at the expense of not making outs. His once promising career has since evaporated, but more than a bad batting eye is at work here.

Player: Kevin Kouzmanoff, Padres, 2008
Stats: .260-.299-.433, 31 2B, 23 HR, 84 RBI, 73.4 wRC

The second Padre on the list, Kouzmanoff is a bit of an interesting case because the dude has a .395 career OBP in the minors. Yet in 2008 he drew just 20 (!!!) unintentional walks in 668 plate appearances. That is … incomprehensibly bad. I mean really, I’m not even mad, I’m impressed. Or, actually unimpressed. Whichever one fits. Kouz’s power output is the only thing that qualifies him for the list of “good sub-.300 OBP seasons.” Amazingly, Kouz’s OBP is down to .280 this year. Yikes.

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Those five guys had a best offensive seasons with a sub-.300 OBP this decade, but we need to take a moment to marvel at the season current Reds shortstop Alex Gonzalez had with the Marlins in 2000. His batting line in 407 plate appearances: .200-.229-.319, 40 OPS+, 18.3 wRC. How the hell do you let a guy hitting like that come to plate 407 times in one season?!? How? It’s madness. And the crazy part is that the Marlins weren’t Mo awful that year, finishing just three games under .500. We don’t have any advanced defensive stats going back that far, but Gonzalez must have been gobbling up everything hit within a 20 yard radius to justify playing pretty much every day with that bat.

Otherwise, there you have it. The best seasons with a sub-.300 OBP of the millenium. Of course when you put together a post like that it’s only fair to look at the other side of the equation, so tomorrow we’ll take a look at the worst offensive seasons by a player with a .400 or better on-base percentage.

Photo Credit: Flickr user Keith Allison

Categories : Analysis
Comments (30)

No player on the Yankees this season has taken up as much of our time as Joba Chamberlain. Sure, A-Rod has his his non-drama that everyone pays attention to, Posada had the whole thing where he couldn’t call a game for a while, and Burnett had a stretch of pretty poor outings. Each has caused a bit of an uproar here and there, but no topic has persisted throughout the season like Joba Chamberlain’s role. I need not reiterate the argument.

Over the next three nights, I’ll take a look at each of Joba’s starts through the first half. Tonight we’ll do his first five starts, with the next five on Wednesday night, the next five on Thursday night, and the final two clunkers on Friday afternoon. Maybe this will shed some light on Joba’s situation, and maybe it won’t. The hope is that we can find some kind of trend, but that’s doubtful. More than likely, this will be just a good chunk of information.

April 12 @ Kansas City

Synopsis: The Yankees, winners of three straight at the time, looked to sweep the Royals. Joba pitched pretty well, going six innings and allowing just one earned run, a home run to John Buck. He also allowed two unearned runs, one of them was the only guy he walked all game. With runners on first and second and two out, Nick Swisher, filling in for the resting Mark Teixeira, made an error at first which allowed a run to score and the inning to continue. Buck then struck again, singling in another run, making it 3-1 Royals.

Joba finished the sixth with 88 pitches, and the Yankees turned it on in the seventh with a four run showing, putting the team on top and Joba in line for the win. Girardi thought that was all for Chamberlain, though, replacing him with Brian Bruney, who mowed down the Royals in the seventh. Then came that dreaded eighth. Damaso Marte got two easy fly outs to left, but then for some reason Joe Girardi went to Jose Veras to get Billy Butler. He walked him, and then Phil Coke gave up the lead on a double to a guy who is too poor a hitter to still be with the Royals. The Royals, who just signed Yuniesky Betancourt as an offensive upgrade. The Yanks dropped the game, and Joba didn’t get the decision.

Pitches – Strikes: 88 – 56 (64%)

Breakdown: 57 fastballs, 13 sliders, 11 curves, 3 changes, 3 two-seamers

Average and Max FB: 92.5, 96

Notes: Threw 2/3 strikes with his fastball, which is always good. Threw almost 85 percent strikes with his slider. He had a bit of trouble with the two-seamer and the slower pitches. Still, good strike percentage, good velocity.

April 17 Cleveland

Synopsis: Joba lasted just 4.2 innings, throwing 93 pitches in that span. After allowing a homer in the first he seemed to settle down, but came apart in the fifth inning, walking the leadoff guy and then getting hammered by the heart of the Cleveland order. A double by Ryan Garko, putting Cleveland ahead 5-3, would chase him from the game. The Yankees came back and tied it on an E1, and going ahead for good on a Derek Jeter long ball. Joba got a no-decision thanks to the offense.

Pitches – Strikes: 93 – 46 (49%)

Breakdown: 65 fastballs, 19 curves, 6 sliders, 2 change, 1 two-seamer

Average and Max FB: 91.5, 95.5

Notes: Joba was down about a mile per hour on his fastball from last game, and totally lost the strike zone. That’s far more concerning than the velocity. He also threw almost 70 percent fastballs, which seems like too much. He did go with the curveball over the slider in this game, but it didn’t quite work out for him. He only threw it for strikes 37 percent of the time. Still, something tells me it wasn’t his curveball that failed him, per se. He threw his fastball for strikes only 52 percent of the time.

April 24 @ Boston

Synopsis: Joba tosses 5/1 innings, allowing one earned run, two overall, and walking four. He had no earned runs heading into the sixth, though the first run was enough of his fault that it should have counted. Anyway, with runners on first and third with one out Joba allowed a single to Nick freaking Green, tying the game and chasing Joba, who had 91 pitches at that point. For the second straight game Phil Coke came in to finish off the job, and for the second straight game he did so without allowing an additional run. Then Mo allowed the two-run jack to Bay, and we don’t want to remember this one any more than we have to.

Pitches – Strikes: 91 – 49 (54%)

Breakdown: 53 fastballs, 23 sliders, 8 curves, 2 changes, 2 two-seamers

Average and Max FB: 92.4, 94.5

Notes: Decent with the average fastball, but he didn’t seem to ramp it up. Threw only 51 percent strikes with his fastball, which is sorta kinda really bad. Here we see something I’ve been pointing out recently: complete reliance on the fastball and slider. Of his 91 pitches he threw either of those 76 times. He’s essentially a two-pitch pitcher at that point. Still almost 70 percent strikes with the slider, but I would hypothesize that the percentage would go down if he continues to rely on just two pitches.

April 29 @ Detroit

Synopsis: Joba dominates. Yankeeland is happy. Seven innings with only 88 pitches, six strikeouts, three hits. The three walks are not nice, but not enough to rain on the party.

Pitches – Strikes: 88 – 50 (57%)

Breakdown: 63 fastballs, 12 sliders, 10 curves, 1 change, 2 two-seamers

Average and Max FB: 92.75, 96.3

Notes: The fastball is there. Maybe a tick below where we’d expect, but remember, this isn’t a guy who’s going to continue what he was doing last year. Basically, he was throwing like a reliever as a starter, maxing out his throws. Then he got hurt. While it’s not necessarily causal, it’s hard to ignore the correlation. Anyway, the 63 fastballs is a lot, but he mixed his slider and curve more, which give him three distinct looks. His 58 percent strikes with the fastball wasn’t great, but much better than his start in Boston. Also threw half his curves for strikes, and 58 percent with the slider.

May 5 Boston

Synopsis: This was the one where Joba allowed three straight hits and a three-run homer before finally getting out of the inning. It looked terrible at first, but then he went to strike out 12 Red Sox in the next 4.2 innings, most of them looking. It wouldn’t be enough, as the Yanks could only muster three runs of Josh Beckett. Joba took the loss, making his first inning even more of a shame.

Pitches – Strikes: 108 – 65 (60%)

Breakdown: 53 FB, 23 sliders, 16 curveballs, 11 changeups, 5 two-seamers

Average and Max FB: 92.3, 96

Notes: Fine velocity again, but it was clear that the fastball wasn’t working. So what did Joba do? Threw a ton of secondary pitches. Even so, he threw the fastball for a strike a hair over 60 percent of the time, dropped his curve for strikes close to 70 percent, and was about 64 percent with the change. Even though the first inning sucked, and even though the Yanks lost, I was kind of proud of Joba after this game. He realized something in the first and acted on it later, and it paid off heavily.

If you just looked at the breakdowns without looking at the results, you could probably pick out which of his starts were the better ones. For the most part he performed poorly when he 1) didn’t throw strikes, 2) relied on just two pitches, and 3) didn’t have his fastball averaging over 92. The same could be said for many, many other pitchers.

We’ll come back tomorrow to look over his next set of five starts. Spoiler: you get cheated with his short start, but you get the one where he annihilated Cleveland. A fair trade-off, I’d say.

Categories : Pitching
Comments (96)

Scroll down for tonight’s All Star Game Thread.

Triple-A Scranton is off until Thursday for the All Star break. Shelley Duncan came in second in the Homerun Derby last night, but the game isn’t being played until tomorrow. Austin Jackson will lead off, and Shelley will clean up for the International League. Tucker Gordon, a regular RAB reader, was there and took some video of Shelley swinging away.

Double-A Trenton is off until Thursday for the All Star break. If you’re heading to the game in Trenton tomorrow night, remember to check out our Eastern League All Star Game Preview.

High-A Tampa had a scheduled off day, just like the rest of the Florida State League.

Low-A Charleston (9-6 loss to Hickory)
Jose Pirela: 0 for 3, 2 R, 2 BB, 1 K
Abe Almonte & Melky Mesa: both 1 for 5 – Almonte doubled, scored a run & K’ed … Mesa tripled, drove un a run & K’ed three times
Corban Joseph: 3 for 5, 1 R, 1 3B, 2 RBI
Garrison Lassiter: 1 for 4, 1 R, 1 BB, 2 K, 1 E (throwing) – 16 errors in 36 games … yikes
Addison Maruszak: 3 for 5, 1 R, 1 K
Mitch Abeita: 2 for 4, 1 RBI, 1 K, 1 E (throwing)
David Phelps: 5 IP, 7 H, 6 R, 4 ER, 1 BB, 4 K, 1 WP, 6-5 GB/FB, 1 E (throwing)
Charles Nolte: 3 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 4 K, 3-2 GB/FB
Cory Arbiso: 1 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 2 K, 0-1 GB/FB

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Categories : Down on the Farm
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Roy Halladay can’t handle the bigt stage!1!!

Categories : Game Threads
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